One chance left for US Open aspirants
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2007 US Open | Preview | 03 Jun 2007
Seven Australians and one New Zealander have already been guaranteed a start at this year’s US Open via various qualifying criteria but on Monday, at thirteen venues across the United States and at one in England, many more will have one last chance to qualify to tee it up at Oakmont starting on June 14th.
Geoff Ogilvy and New Zealander Michael Campbell are already in the field because of their previous victories in the event although in the case of Ogilvy he has qualified in several categories. So too have Adam Scott, Stuart Appleby, Nick O’Hern, Rod Pampling, Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley.
More than twenty more Australians and New Zealanders will take their chances in what is “the numbers game” of qualifying. Those chances are increased to some extent by the fact that there are 36 holes to allow quality golf to come to the fore, but there will still be many highly regarded and credentialed players who will deflated on Monday evening by the fact that whey will not play in what promises to be a great event.
In total just under 80 places are still available in the tournament, the most being at the two PGA Tour stops this and next week. In Columbus, Ohio, where the Memorial comes to a conclusion tomorrow, 24 places are at this stage on the line although that may be reduced marginally as two of the original entrants in qualifying Robert Allenby and Aaron Baddeley are now in the field via the top 50 world ranking category.
In Memphis ahead of next week’s Stanford St Jude Classic, 15 places are up for grabs, with the balance spread across the other 12 venues.
At Walton Heath in Surrey, where Michael Campbell was forced to pre qualify prior to his win in 2005, there will be nine places available to the field with several of those involved, making the rushed trip back from Wales where the Celtic Manor Wales Open will finish on Sunday evening just 14 hours or so before many are teeing it up.
The class of Australasian player having to go through this process leaves no doubt as to the hard task of gaining a start in a major championship but perhaps that is the way it should be. Steve Elkington, Nathan Green, Peter Lonard and the runner up to Jim Furyk in 2003, Stephen Leaney, are but a few of the Australians who will take their chances.
Campbell showed in 2005 that what appears on paper to be such a longshot proposition can in fact be achieved and many will have taken heart at his stunning showing at Pinehurst.